‘Made in Italy.’

Madman Entertainment’s father-and-son comedy Made in Italy and Icon’s Mel Gibson starrer Force of Nature launched reasonably well last weekend but neither could match the market leader, Studiocanal’s Unhinged in its third frame.

Nonetheless exhibitors were encouraged by the uptick in ticket sales as proof that people are returning to cinemas in the lead-up to Warner Bros’ Tenet, which will have paid previews next weekend before the August 27 debut.

The re-issue of Disney’s Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope also juiced takings, as Numero reported the top 20 titles collared $2.3 million, up 10 per cent on the prior frame.

Magnum Films’ South Korean action horror film Peninsula and Rialto’s French import La Belle Époque had respectable debuts.

Director Derrick Borte’s road rage thriller Unhinged, which stars Russell Crowe and Caren Pistorius, rang up $452,000 on 198 screens, hoisting the total to $2.3 million.

George Lucas’ 1977 vintage Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope ranked second, drumming up $313,000 on 182, and it was the top title at the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace.

Majestic Cinemas’ Kieren Dell tells IF the fourth episode of the Skywalker saga drew a a combination of oldies, kids with their parents and young adults who were keen to see it on the big screen for the first time.

Actor-turned director James D’Arcy’s Made in Italy, which stars Liam Neeson as an artist who returns to Italy with his estranged son (Neeson’s real-life son Micheál Richardson) to sell the house they inherited from his late wife, collected $264,000 on 120.

‘La Belle Époque.’

Directed by Michael Polish, Force of Nature, which follows Gibson as a retired detective who refuses to leave his building despite an approaching hurricane, leading to a confrontation with thieves on a $55 million heist, mustered $205,000 on 147 screens. In the US Lionsgate released the action thriller on digital and VOD in July.

Nine newspapers’ reviewer Paul Byrnes branded the film as “so bad, it’s almost good.”

Yeon Sang-ho’s Peninsula, a standalone sequel to his 2016 film Train to Busan, which follows soldiers who battle hordes of post-apocalyptic zombies in the wastelands of the Korean peninsula, captured $172,000 on 95 and $263,000 including previews.

Roadshow’s The Secret: Dare to Dream, director Andy Tennant’s adaptation of Rhonda Byrne’s self-help book, reached $782,000 after adding $145,000 in its third chapter.

Writer-director Nicolas Bedos’ La Belle Époque stars Daniel Auteuil as Victor, a guy whose long marriage to Marianne (Fanny Ardant) is on the rocks when he meets Antoine (Guillaume Canet), the owner of a time-travel company. It fetched $70,000 on 72 and $280,000 including Alliance Francaise French Film Festival screenings.

Summing up the weekend, Wallis Cinema’s programming manager David Simpson enthused: “The revitalisation continues with new product and a clear upturn in returning customers.

“We were pleased with Made in Italy and La Belle Époque, while Unhinged continues to draw audiences.”

Hayden Orpheum GM Alex Temesvari said: “We always hope for more on the smaller titles but hopefully La Belle Époque and Made in Italy will have decent legs.

“It’s really all about Tenet though: that’s the film to drive people back to cinemas. Our pre-sales on 70mm are huge, which is encouraging.”

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